Sunday, November 30, 2008

welcoming advent - day 1

“Give us, we pray, the grace to surrender to being found.”
--Richard John Neuhaus

I have had a wild morning with God. I wish I had the gift that my friend, Tess, has of putting together lots of details into a formative description ☺. I shall, however, try because it feels too important and too crazy (or wild) to not record this. I have to tell you though that stuff like this happens to me all of the time. Does that sound arrogant? Does that sound like I am special? Oh wait, I have gotten ahead of myself, have I not?

So, as you can see by looking at my new bookshelf in the sidebar, I have quite a few books that I currently have open next to my bedside. I used to be a serial reader and could/would only read one book at a time, cover to cover and then, of course, count the pages and record my accomplishment. (Can you see the performance seeking perfectionist pop through there?) Anyway, I have ceased to use that method and now find myself in the midst of all sorts of knowledge (which I love), but the main problem becomes remembering where I read something!! This post as much as anything is an attempt to record the events of the last few hours and how they have come to be my Advent focus.

Last night I finished my first read of Patti Digh’s “life is a verb” and was left with this challenge:

“What, if you did it consistently for thirty-seven days (and perhaps beyond), would create positive vibes, intentional joy, good karma, fantastic direction, and deep expansiveness in your life?...Whatever it is, however small, do it. Decide on It, the Thing You Will Do. And then, do it.”

I also decided to jump ahead and read the first day of Advent readings from “God with Us.” Here is the primary thought that I underlined :

“The great question is not whether we have found God but whether we have found ourselves being found by God.”

This morning I awoke quite early (not really my personal decision ☺) and chose to quietly read another chapter in Christine Paintner’s, “Lectio Divina” and this is what greeted me:

“Awareness of God, at its deepest level, is not so much something we do as something we are.” --William Shannon
The chapter was on 'Contemplative Awakening and Awareness' and ultimately I found myself entering into centering prayer which "Lectio Divina" points out is “a method designed to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift…It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.”

As this post is already becoming a bit long, I will simply say my 20 minutes of centering prayer were definitely in kairos (qualitative) time versus the clock watching of chronos. It was a special time of “being” rather than “doing.” It was a time where I “found myself found by God.”

And so, upon reflection I realized that all of these little hints had been working together to offer me my discipline of Advent (which I did not even know I was looking for ☺.) And here, it is: for the next 37 days I am choosing to give myself the gift of 20 minutes of centering prayer each day. Now, here is where things get really cool. Today is November 30. There are 31 days in December and The Feast of Epiphany (the final feast day of Christmas) is on January 6—roughly speaking 37 days!!! How awesome is that?!??!?

I look forward to sharing this continuing journey with you, but mainly I look forward to the ways that I know God will surprise me (or not…I am holding lightly to expectations) over this 37 day Advent season.

Oh, I have to share one last little piece: the music. Yesterday while reading People (I’m not a spiritual diva by any means ☺), the recommendation for Enya’s “And winter came” jumped out at me. While I have been writing, I downloaded it. I was not surprised to see that the first song is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Can’t wait to see what else is on there!!

There you have it – my Advent beginning. What will yours be? Will you allow yourself space to be found by God? What is the gift you will give to you? How will you surrender for the next 37 days?

9 comments:

Barbara said...

I want to reclaim the morning. I have for long enough lived "on the dark side" and I feel it is time (Kairos kind) to walk in the light. Usually that ends up including prayer ... but I will let it all flow once the gate is opened. Happy Advent!

Tess said...

Thank you for the compliment!
What a wonderful post this is, with its richness of words and journeying.
Being present to myself and others - that's my Advent gift.

lucy said...

barbara--that sounds so very lovely. i look forward to seeing what this season brings each of us.

tess--you are most welcome! you truly have a gift of bringing together lots of info without making it overwhelming.

"being present" sounds like a delightful gift...you know that's why it's called the 'present' :-)

happpilyretiredgal said...

..."grace to surrender to being found" ... the words reverberate in my mind, spirit, and body ...

Thank you ... methinks I'll walk with this in mind today.
Hugs and blessings,

differenceayearmakes said...

I love your 37 day advent challenge. Isn't the mystery of what will unfold during the season rather thrilling? I personally always celebrate ADVENT THROUGH EPIPHANY - rather the forgotten season lost in Christmas and New Year's loud presence.

I have just begun reading Patti Digh's book - although I've had it for quite awhile now. I'm going to do the pencil in hand, marginalia thing - or try to, writing in a book is hard.

I'm excited because she will be making an appearance at a bookstore near me this coming week.

lucy said...

thanks, happilyretiredgal...don't i know you from somewhere? ;-)

rebecca--i am looking forward to this intentional celebration of advent through epiphany...a first for me...

i hope you get to see patti digh in person. seattle was the first stop on her book tour and i had the privilege of hearing her read and meeting her. she is delightful!!

Abbey of the Arts said...

Happy Advent lucy! Love your post and the synchronicities that have woven themselves together here to support you in your yearning for the Holy One. And if I had a small part in that process, then I am truly blessed. Thank you for the blessing of you and your friendship. May Advent be a time of discovery and deepening. I can't wait to hear what you uncover along the journey as there are riches untold waiting inside of you, of that I am certain.

lucy said...

C--blessings to you...you have played more than a 'small part' in this journey of mine.

synchronicity is one of my very favorite things!!! hmmmm...i think there's probably a post in there somewhere :-)

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Having had a review of the purpose of Advent during yesterday's sermon, I was eager to "get to the book" I selected for Advent.

Getting untangled from turkey day and birthday and fog at the airport, church was about as far as I got in thinking of Advent yesterday:)

So, with eagerness this a.m. I cracked the book and rested in the opening words and in the first day's readings. I am looking forward to keeping this Advent discipline and spending time in contemplation of Jesus' birth....I have vowed not to "look ahead" in said book but to await each day's reading and beautiful artwork that is there.

Beautiful, evocative post....thank you, Lucy!